Nothing says the beginning of spring like The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC! This spring celebration all came about thanks to a generous gift from the mayor of Tokyo, when he gifted the city of Washington, DC with 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates this gift and the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan. Each year, the Cherry Blossom Festival draws well over a million people to Washington, DC. Here’s what you need to know heading into this year’s celebrations and how you can plan ahead with Cherry Blossom Festival parking:
DC Cherry Blossom Forecast 2017
The weather leading up to The Cherry Blossom Festival has been unpredictable, to say the least! The National Weather Service expects DC’s cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom between March 19-22. “Peak bloom” refers to the point when 70% of the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin bloom. You can find more information the peak bloom forecast at CherryBlossomWatch.com.
If you’re driving or parking at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead and reserve parking in advance. Here are your best bets for parking near top viewing spots and Cherry Blossom Festival events:
Tidal Basin Parking
The Tidal Basin is the main viewing area for cherry blossoms, with over 1,700 cherry trees surrounding the basin. Given how popular this spot is, parking can be a challenge, especially during peak bloom days. Be sure to plan ahead and reserve your spot today. Here are our top recommendations for Tidal Basin parking (adjust to your preferred date and time):
1220 Maryland Ave SW – Portals I Garage
1318 D St SW – Portals III Garage
Tip: Save money by going on a weekday!
You can search and book other parking options near the Tidal Basin here.
National Mall Parking
The National Mall is another popular viewing spot for cherry blossoms. Parking near the National Mall is a bit easier than the Tidal Basin during this busy time, but we’d still recommend planning ahead to reserve your parking spot. Here are our top recommendations for National Mall parking (adjust to your preferred date and time):
You can find more options for National Mall parking here.
2017 Cherry Blossom Festival Parking
If you’re heading to any of the festival events, find all of the details below, including our recommendations for Cherry Blossom Festival parking.
Pink Tie Party
About: The annual Pink Tie Party is a fundraiser benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Date & Time: March 16, 2017, 7pm-11pm
Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Cost: $300 enhanced experience; $200 general admission; $90 budding partygoer (ages 21-30) – purchase tickets here
Parking: Reserve Pink Tie Party parking here
About: Kick-off the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival and watch world-renowned performers in this celebration of the anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan to the United States. For a full line-up of performers, check out the official Cherry Blossoms Festival page.
Date & Time: March 25, 2017, 5pm-6:30pm
Location: 513 13th Street NW, Warner Theatre
Cost: Free – advance ticketing required. There will be a $5 registration fee when tickets are claimed – reserve tickets here
Parking: Reserve Opening Ceremony parking here
Tidal Basin Welcome Area & Ana Performance Stage
About: This welcome center offers visitor services, first aid, food, souvenirs, books, and more. Take advantage of the park rangers and volunteers on hand, who can answer questions about the festival. You can also visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival tent in the Paddle Boat Parking Lot for entertainment, official merchandise, and more.
Date & Time: March 18 – April 2, 2017 – Welcome Area open daily 10am-7ppm; Performances daily 12pm-6pm
Location: 151 Maine Ave, SW
Parking: Reserve parking near the Tidal Basin here
Blossom Kite Festival
About: The seventh annual Blossom Kite Festival features a variety of competitions and demonstrations from kite makers and fliers from across the US and other countries, plus Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Bring your own kite or make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field.
Date & Time: April 1, 2017, 10am-4:30pm
Location: Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW and Constitution Ave
Parking: Reserve parking near the Blossom Kite Festival here
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk
About: The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk are premier road races for runners kicking off the spring running season. Proceeds from the event support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Click here for more information on the race.
Date & Time: April 2, 2017 at 7:30am
Entry: Lottery entry is closed, but you can still run the race as a charity race entry participant. To qualify, you need to raise $500 for the official race charity, Credit Unions for Kids. You can find more information here.
Parking: Reserve parking near the start line here
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
About: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of DC’s largest spectator events. From the National Archives to the Washington Monument, the 10-block long parade features giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and celebrity entertainers.
Date & Time: April 8, 2017, 10am-12pm
Location: Constitution Ave, from 7th to 17th streets, NW
Cost: Grandstand seating starts at $20 – purchase tickets here. Standing along the parade route is FREE, along Constitution Ave, between 9th and 15th streets, NW. Arrive early for the best views.
Parking: Reserve National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade parking here
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
About: At the grand finale event of the Cherry Blossom Festival, enjoy free music, family-friendly activities, live entertainment, and a fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. You can find more information here
Date & Time: April 15, 2017 – Fireworks display at 8:30pm; District Wharf celebration 2pm-9:30pm; Titanic Memorial Southwest Waterfront Park 6pm-9pm
Location: Attendees are encouraged to view the fireworks display along the waterfront closest to the Titanic Memorial.
Parking: Reserve Fireworks Festival parking here
If you have any questions on Cherry Blossom Festival parking, give us a call at 202-999-3586!